Silicotuberculosis of the lungs, X-ray

Silicotuberculosis of the lungs, X-ray

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Credit: ZEPHYR/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Silicotuberculosis of the lungs. Coloured X-ray of the lungs of a 61-year-old patient with silicotuberculosis. This is a disease where lungs with silicosis, a type of pneumoconiosis ('black lung') from inhaling silica dust, have become infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. The silicosis causes areas of fibrous scarred tissue and inflammation (white grainy regions), making the lungs susceptible to infection when breathing in bacteria. Tuberculosis bacteria create primary tubercles, nodular lesions of dead tissue and bacteria (faint circle, lower right). Symptoms of silicotuberculosis include fever, weight loss, breathlessness and coughing up blood. Tuberculosis can be treated with antibiotics, but there is no cure for silicosis.

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